RWC #11: Two miles of beer in Brugge

RWC #11: Two miles of beer in Brugge

Read this blog: The one where we discovered hidden beer

Monday 9th October 2023

Having seen our last live match of the Rugby World Cup we drove from Lille to the beautiful city of Brugge to stay one night at the aire close to the train station where we have stayed several times before. It is just a short walk from here to the historic centre and some of our favourite bars and cafés.

TravellingHerd: the aire in Brugge is very convenient for the city centre

Before leaving Lille early to avoid paying any parking charges, Robert had promised Matilda breakfast at That’s Toast [see Dish of the day] so this was our first port of call.

TravellingHerd: That’s Toast is highly recommended, offering delicious breakfasts to suit all tastes and appetites

Once refreshed we strolled around, reacquainting ourselves with this beautiful city. Unsurprisingly, the route Robert chose took us past ‘t Brugs Beertje so that we could confirm the opening time of 16:00 for this legendary bar which serves around 300 Belgian beers. We then walked to Markt, the central square which is dominated by the 83 m high medieval Belfort or belfry.

TravellingHerd: the Belfort in Markt, Brugge

We passed the Biermuseum and as, despite being relatively regular visitors, neither of us had ever been inside we thought we would have a look round.

TravellingHerd: the Biermuseum, Brugge

In a city where the bars and shops provide such a wealth of choice that they are almost an education in themselves, this was, if not exactly disappointing, then at least a little bit ordinary. Matilda felt it was far too early to have the first beer of the day and so was relieved when the bar stocked only a limited range, none of which proved a temptation to Robert.

TravellingHerd: inside the Biermuseum, Brugge

As we were travelling in the motorhome, we had space to bring some Belgian beer home with us. We therefore popped in to look at the 2Be Beer Wall for inspiration. This shop and bar, in a 15th century mayor’s residence, has canal side views and a fine range of beer and souvenirs. We also browsed in The Bottle Shop [below] but we calculated that the prices were better at the beer warehouse we planned to visit on our way back to Le Shuttle.

TravellingHerd: The Bottle Shop, Brugge

We then had a quick look inside the Beguinage on the way to Brouwerij De Halve Maan, the city’s oldest continuously working brewery, which has been operating on this site for around 500 years. Although the beer is still brewed centrally, the bottling plant is now out of town. To reduce the number of heavy lorries in the city’s narrow cobbled streets, the brewery conceived a plan to build a two-mile [3276m] pipeline under the city from the brewery on Walplein out to the bottling plant at the Waggelwater Industrial Park.

Tunneling experts from the oil and gas industry were employed to minimise disruption and road closures. According to the brewery’s website, the pipeline runs entirely under public property and does not go under any private property. The route runs under several watercourses, the historic “reitjes” (canals), under the underground car park of “het Zand”, under the historic city walls and along “de Bevrijdingslaan”.

This was obviously an expensive undertaking and the project was part financed [€300,000 of the €4m total] by crowd funding. The most expensive gold membership cost €7,500 and allows the buyer a bottle of blonde Brugse Zot beer every day for life and 18 personalised glasses from which to drink it. Had we but known.

An unassuming section of the pipeline has been left visible at the entrance to the brewery courtyard.

TravellingHerd: The section of the two mile long beer pipeline at the entrance to the brewery.

It opened in September 2016 and beer is now piped through the two miles of pipeline at a rate equal to filling 12,000 bottles an hour.

We raised a glass [or two – see Selfie of the Day] to this impressive feat of engineering and were pleased to note that the Brugse Zot glasses feature a representation of the pipeline [see Video of the day].

TravellingHerd: at the Brouwerij De Halve Maan

From here we retraced our steps towards‘t Brugs Beertje before returning to the motorhome for a relatively early night.

TravellingHerd: ‘t Brugs Beertje

Video of the day:

Selfie of the day:

TravellingHerd: at the Brouwerij De Halve Maan

Dish of the day:

TravellingHerd: Breakfast at That’s Toast

Route Map:

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